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:: Friday, May 04, 2007 ::

Salute to a brave and modest nation

This is written in the perfectly succinct English manner..........enjoy.

A British news paper salutes Canada . . . this is a good read. It is
strange how it took someone in the UK to put it into words.

Sunday Telegraph Article: "Salute to a brave and modest nation" - Kevin
Myers, The Sunday Telegraph, LONDON - UK

Until the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, probably
almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian
troops are deployed in the region. And as always, Canada will bury its
dead, just as the rest of the world, as always will forget its sacrifice,
just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.

It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid
both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis
is over, to be well and truly ignored.

Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall,
waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out,
she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers
serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes,
there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped
glamorously cavort across the floor,blithely neglecting her yet again.

That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent
with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two
global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two
different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an
address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never
fully got the gratitude it deserved. Yet its purely voluntary contribution
to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any

Almost 10% of Canada's entire population of seven million people served in
the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The
great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops,
perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.

Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, it's
unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular Memory as
somehow or other the work of the "British".

The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war
with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the
Atlantic against U-boat attack. More than 120 Canadian warships
participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian
soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone. Canada finished the war with the
third-largest navy and the fourth-largest air force in the world.

The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the
previous time. Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film
only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in
which the United States had clearly not participated - a touching
scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has
any notion of a separate Canadian identity.

So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood
keep their nationality - unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary
Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William
Shatner, Norman Jwison, David Cronenberg, Alex Trebek, Art Linkletter and
Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and
Christopher Plummer, British.

It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be
Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as
a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find
any takers.

Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of
its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of
them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves - and are unheard by anyone
else - that 1% of the world's population has provided 10% of the world's
peacekeeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past
half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth - in 39 missions
on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to
East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.

Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular on-Canadian
imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of-control
paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then
disbanded in disgrace - a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for
which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.

So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless
friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan? Rather
like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things for
honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains
something of a figure of fun.

It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such
honour comes at a high cost. This past year more grieving Canadian
families knew that cost all too tragically well.

Please pass this on to anyone who is proud, and content to be Canadian; it
is a wonderful tribute to those who choose to serve their country and the
world in our quiet Canadian way.

In Flanders Fields...

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 12:44 [+] :: 1 comments


Thank you for sharing this.I will post it up on my site and send it along to some friends who are now residing in the States and France and are Canadian. We just lost three more soldiers this past week so this is something us Canadians should reflect upon.
Luv your work.Will be back.

By Blogger Annabelle, at 11:29 PM  

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